New HHS Panel to Recommend ‘Streamlined’ Regulations
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson last week named 27 people to serve on an advisory committee intended to "refor[m] and streamlin[e]" the department's regulatory requirements, Reuters Health/Yahoo News reports. The group will hold hearings nationwide, beginning Jan. 7, to hear recommendations from doctors, consumers and "other interested parties," with the intent of improving patient care. The 11 HHS agencies issue approximately 200 regulatory actions each year, the department said. "When we flood doctors and hospitals with excessive paperwork, patients suffer the consequences. This new panel will help us restore common sense to the regulatory process so that Americans can receive higher-quality health care without creating needless hassles for doctors and other health care professionals and businesses," Thompson said. Reuters/Yahoo reports the committee will focus particularly on CMS and the FDA. For example, according to HHS spokesperson Campbell Gardett, the committee may review the necessity of "extensive" CMS-mandated cost reports filed by hospitals. Reuters Health/Yahoo News reports that the advisory committee is part of an ongoing effort by Thompson to "begin removing regulatory barriers that might impede patient care" (Twersky, Reuters Health/Yahoo News, 12/26). The panel will be chaired by Dr. Douglas Wood, a cardiologist at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic. A complete list of the new appointees is at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2001pres/20011226.html.